Crimes Bill body out of time

Friday November 10, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Crimes Bill 2017 Parliamentary Select Committee chairman Mona Ioane says they are running out of time to finish their consultations before the next sitting of parliament. 17110915 Crimes Bill 2017 Parliamentary Select Committee chairman Mona Ioane says they are running out of time to finish their consultations before the next sitting of parliament. 17110915

The Parliamentary Select Committee for the Crimes Bill 2017 is running out of time to complete their consultations with people and organisations around the country before the next sitting of parliament.

 

The committee, made up of chairman Mona Ioane, deputy chairman James Beer, Rose Brown, Selina Napa, Tangata Vavia and Toka Hagai, has only managed to finish its consultation on Aitutaki.

It has yet to finish the remaining southern group islands and the whole of the northern group – and has not even completed its consultations on Rarotonga.

MPs are scheduled to meet on November 27 for the second and final sitting of the year and the committee had been expected to have finished all consultations by then.

Ioane said that during parliament’s June/July session, members had been given until the next sitting to complete all their consultations and table a report before the House.

But he said they were running out of time and would not be able to complete all the consultations on the bill, which is expected to modernise the Crimes Act 1969, the outdated legislation currently followed by the Cook Islands justice system.

“I don’t think we will be able to complete the consultations, but if we run out of time before the sitting, we still have to make a report to parliament to update them on what’s been

happening.

“I’m going to call a meeting before parliament sits to discuss whether we could adjourn or extend our consultation until next year.

“This is an important bill, just like the Family Support and Protection Act 2017 which comes in force on December 1, and we need enough time to get the full views of the public.

“If you look at the timeframe, it will never be completed, so there is a strong possibility we will ask parliament to give us more time.”

On Rarotonga, the committee still had to consult with all the villages, Ioane added.

“Our first village meeting was in Titikaveka on Monday last week.

We have gone through the vakas and at our Matavera meeting, people requested if we can go back to the villages.

“They reckon the vaka meetings are not enough for people to participate and are too distant for some to come to them.”

At the committee’s Aitutaki consultations, held on Tuesday last week, Ioane said members received overwhelming feedback from meeting participants in Arutanga and Vaipae.

Beer, Napa and Brown also took part in the Aitutaki consultation alongside Clerk of the Parliament John Tangi, committee secretariat Tangata Vainerere and Hansard official Isaac Solomon.

 “The response in town wasn’t really good but we had some very good comments and responses from those who at the meeting,” Ioane said.

“We did a presentation to the people and then they responded by asking questions on areas of the bill they were interested in.

“We met again in Vaipae later in the afternoon where we had a few more people. 

Ioane said the committee was now working on its schedule to hold consultations in the remaining villages on Rarotonga, the remaining southern group islands and the northern group. 

“I would like to acknowledge the sponsorship from UNDP in Fiji. They funded our trip to the outer islands. This is not the first time they have provided financial assistance to the select committee here in the Cook Islands,” Ioane said.

“They also gave us some funding to assist us with the Family Support and Protection Act.

“I think with the $36,000 they gave us, we will be able to complete the southern group and then we will look at government for financial assistance to take the committee to the northern group islands.

“I thank the people of Rarotonga and Aitutaki for their participation and views on this Bill.”

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